Omonia is the island’s most popular football club, with nearly one in three fans (30.7%) supporting the greens after turning around their flagging fortunes, according to a survey by the University of Nicosia.
Cyprus’ most successful team APOEL, for league titles and participations in Europe, and Omonia’s arch-rivals, APOEL, trailed second with 21.7%.
According to the statistician Stavros Bouloukas, Anorthosis of Famagusta came third in popularity with 15.1%, with champions Apollon fourth on 11.8%.
AEL Limassol had 8% popularity, with AEK Larnaca trailing on 3.3%, Nea Salamina with 2.3%, Paphos FC garnering 2.1%, Aris Limassol 1.3%, with Olympiacos Nicosia and Paralimni on 1.1%.
By district, APOEL came on top in Nicosia, followed by Omonia, while in Limassol, Apollon was first followed by their arch-rivals AEL.
In Larnaca, Omonia came on top, followed by Anorthosis Famagusta in the survey of 3,505 fans.
Anorthosis is the most popular club in Famagusta, followed by Omonia, while Paphos FC are kings in their hometown, followed by Omonia.
Furthermore, 68% of supporters of APOEL had a college or university degree, 64% of Apollon, 61% for Anorthosis, 58% for AEL and 51% for Omonia.
Support for Omonia has been steadily rising in recent years after the club returned to glory after 10 years of withering in the wind, sinking under a large pile of debt.
Omonia increased its support by 3.7 percentage points compared to the same survey conducted four years ago.
The club came first in the 2019-2020 season, which was called off as the championship entered its playoff stage due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
In 2020-2021, Omonia snatched the title, four points clear from runners-up Apollon Limassol.
Last season the club performed poorly in the championship, failing to secure a spot in the playoffs.
However, the season was not wasted, as the club lifted their fifteenth FA Cup.
Securing the cup sees Omonia in the playoffs of the Europa League.
If they are successful, they will find themselves in the tournament’s group stage, generating €8 mln.
Omonia will still play in the group stage of a European tournament if they lose, going into the Conference League, worth €4 mln.
The club’s recent successes come after a decade of failure to reach the top spot in the Cypriot league and financial difficulties, which almost led the historic club to bankruptcy in 2018.
The club’s flagging fortunes were revived after being taken over by millionaire Stavros Papastavrou in 2018
APOEL, on the other hand, has not managed to grab a title in the past five years, following 15 years of domestic dominance.
The team’s poor performance has been reflected in their waning support, from 30.3% in 2012 to 29.6% in 2018 and 21% in 2022.
Some 50% of respondents said they would prefer foreign referees adjudicating all football matches, and 21% backed Cypriot referees with foreigners only in playoff matches.
Cypriots’ favourite team in the English Premier League is Manchester United with 27.4% support, followed closely by Liverpool with 27.3%.
Champions Manchester City only garnered 3.4% backing.